For the thrill-seeker, vacationing is all about activity, be it hiking, climbing, cycling, diving or kayaking. At Manshausen Island, off the coast of northern Norway, one can indulge in all of this and so much more. Located alongside the Grøtøya strait, this 55-ac (around 22-ha) island is endowed with boundless natural beauty, in the form of pristine mountains, ocean and sandy beaches. Situated at specific locations along the coast are tiny cantilevered cabins, hanging precariously over the Arctic water, that provide mesmerizing views of the surrounding landscape.
Before it was bought by polar explorer Børge Ousland in 2010, Manshausen was part of one of the largest trading posts in the northern part of Norway. Established way back in 1690, it shipped all kinds of fish to Bergen in southwest Norway and mainland Europe, until it was shut down in 1924. Ousland plans to transform this small, unsullied island into a major travel destination, offering a range of outdoor activities, such as fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, skiing and hiking, as well as cozy waterfront accommodation.
Designed by Snorre Stinessen, each of the four cantilevered cabins is built right at the edge of the coast, with its transparent glass-lined side jutting over the water. Three of them sit on a stone jetty, overlooking the ocean, while the fourth one is situated on an elevated natural ledge. The chief feature of these cabins is the glazed section that provides a stunning, uninterrupted view of the neighboring landscape.
Big enough to accommodate two to four people, or maybe a family of five, each lodge features a living area, a kitchen, a dining space, a narrow vestibule leading to the bedroom and a bathroom. The bedroom, in turn, houses a raised bed for two, with sufficient space on the floor for an extra mattress. The two-layered wooden exterior, consisting of a thick outer layer of larch, provides proper insulation against the cold. What is more, these tiny structures are made almost entirely using natural materials and therefore, have very low environmental impact.
The task of constructing them began in 2010, and was only recently completed. The cabins were prefabricated in the Czech Republic and then transported to Manshausen, where they were assembled without much hassle. To know more about the island and its various attractions, click here.